Germany's Merkel pushes stricter COVID measures, states want to wait and see

By Andreas Rinke and Sabine Siebold BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday leaders of the country's 16 federal states were resisting her efforts to agree stricter measures to fight a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, two weeks into a partial nationwide lockdown. Merkel had pushed for tougher measures at a meeting in Berlin, but state leaders wanted to wait and see the effects of current restrictions, she told a news conference.

Reuters November 17, 2020 02:11:00 IST
Germany's Merkel pushes stricter COVID measures, states want to wait and see

Germanys Merkel pushes stricter COVID measures states want to wait and see

By Andreas Rinke and Sabine Siebold

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday leaders of the country's 16 federal states were resisting her efforts to agree stricter measures to fight a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, two weeks into a partial nationwide lockdown.

Merkel had pushed for tougher measures at a meeting in Berlin, but state leaders wanted to wait and see the effects of current restrictions, she told a news conference.

"The majority of states declined to change legal measures roughly one week ahead of the next meeting... I could have imagined imposing further contact restrictions today," she said.

Germany on Nov. 2 imposed a month-long "lockdown lite" to rein in a second wave that is sweeping much of Europe. Bars and restaurants are closed, but schools and shops remain open.

Private gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people from two households.

Merkel had proposed additional measures including making it mandatory to wear masks in schools and shrink class sizes, and urging citizens, and children, to limit social contacts to one household or friend.

"The contact restrictions are the formula for success," she said. "We need more of this. We need to restrict contacts further to reach our goals."

She will meet with the state leaders again on Nov. 25 to discuss whether to impose further restrictions or extend the current ones into December.

Germany, Europe's largest economy, was widely praised for keeping infection and death rates below those of many of its neighbours in the first phase of the crisis but is now in the midst of a second wave, like much of the rest of Europe.

Merkel has said that the seven-day incidence of the virus must fall below 50 per 100,000 residents before serious re-opening can be contemplated. Germany currently has 143 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.

Germans' willingness to further limit their social contacts will be key to getting the second wave under control, she said.

"Every contact that doesn't happen is progress in the fight against the pandemic," Merkel said.

(Additional reporting by Michael Nienaber, Thomas Escritt, Christian Kraemer, Hans Seidenstuecker; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Alex Richardson and Sonya Hepinstall)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.